Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rarities #33: Bon Jovi - These Days (Special Edition 2CD) (1996)

The good thing about having a 160GB iPod Classic is that I can now rip all my albums and store them in, and listen to them whenever I feel like it. Of course, the ripping is tedious, but I have also just bought a 320GB portable HDD, so I have very wisely ripped and transferred the mp3s into my HDD, since the iPod only allows one-way transfer (you can transfer mp3 into it but not out. You can only delete them from the iPod but you won't get back your mp3 file).

Anyway, the point is that I can now rediscover old albums that I have previously neglected due to the limited storage of my old iPod Nano (only 2GB), and also because my Discman no longer works. And one such old album I have rediscovered is Bon Jovi's 1995 album, These Days.

Coming on the heels of the hugely successful Crossroads greatest hits album, These Days had a lot to live up to. Crossroads contained 2 new recordings - Always and Someday I'll Be Saturday Night, and both of them were hits. Always, in particular, became one of their biggest hits ever, and replaced Bed Of Roses as the signature Bon Jovi ballad.

So when the first single from These Days was unveiled, some people felt that This Ain't A Love Song was a poorer cousin of Always, since they were in a similar vein. Nevertheless, it was still a big hit around the world, and I remember it hitting #1 in Singapore as well. Clearly it resonated with people.

I also remember that time period as being quite "emo", with songs like This Ain't A Love Song and Bryan Adams' Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman being big hits. The definition of "emo" at that time is quite different from now.

Anyway, These Days proved that it could stand on its own as a good Bon Jovi album. In fact, I think that is their last good album. Their subsequent studio releases - Crush, Bounce, Have A Nice Day and Lost Highway aren't as impressive or memorable.

Five singles were released from These Days. This Ain't A Love Song was followed by Something For The Pain, Lie To Me, These Days and then Hey God. I like them all.

However, my favourite song from the album is the sombre My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms. I'm not the most lyrical person around, but I love the opening lyric, "Misery likes company". I like the music bridge too, and Richie Sambora delivers a heart-wrenching guitar solo after that.

Damned reminds me of Keep The Faith, with its guitar riff and drum beat. Richie's solo here is pretty impressive too. Too bad he scaled down on his solos on the subsequent albums. He's such a fine guitarist and a lot of Bon Jovi's songs are classics because of his guitar solos. Think Keep The Faith, Bed Of Roses, Always, You Give Love A Bad Name, Blaze Of Glory, Livin' On A Prayer. You can practically sing along to the guitar solo.

The first seven songs on this album are power-packed, so it's inevitable it tapers off a little towards the end. But overall, it's still a very good album, and it brings back memories of the time when I just started drumming and Bon Jovi were my favourite band at the time. They may not be my favourite band now, but many of these songs are still timeless.

This package is a Special Edition with the second disc containing demos, covers and live tracks. 



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